Doug Myers, M.D., Bone Marrow Transplant Specialist

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Dr. Myers is familiar with desperate situations. His patients are children, often suffering from leukemia or lymphoma, for whom chemotherapy has been, for one reason or another, ineffective. These children are in critical need of a bone marrow transplant to help replace blood cells that no longer function properly.

Bone marrow transplantation carries its own dangers. Complications can occur. The body itself can begin destroying its own blood cells and platelets. Only one thing is certain in these cases: Without a steady and reliable supply of blood and blood products, bone marrow recipients would rarely survive the procedure.

The need for blood doesn't end once the operation has been done and the patient's body has begun to produce its own blood cells. Some of the children will need transfusions daily or weekly to treat complications. Others will develop autoimmune problems later and become dependent on transfusions. For these children, the need for donated blood can be very long-term.

“I think it's difficult to imagine your child or loved one in a life-threatening situation,“ Dr. Myers says. “But imagine what it would be like if something your loved one needs to live is in short supply. It can be extremely frustrating and scary. Knowing that the transfusion is available is very comforting.“

Dr. Myers, who helps perform 20-25 bone marrow transplants a year, encourages anyone to imagine this situation: “The next person who walks by your door might be the one who saves your life. Or you might be the one to save theirs. I can't think of a better reason to donate blood.“

Please share your experience as a blood donor or transfusion recipient.